Want to Feel Better? Do Something Unpleasant!

Welcome to the newest feature here at Never Done It That Way Before: Learning Opportunities!  My seminary internship supervisor, a phenomenal pastor, teacher, and person, was very fond of this phrase.  “I have a learning opportunity for you,” he would say, often offering me a task he did not wish to do himself.  It doesn’t matter whose idea they are: learning opportunities are everywhere.  Let’s share some of ours!

Raising an oil-blackened foot from the polluted water of Lake Mead, May 1972

The doctor’s instructions were clear: if you start to feel or see something starting to poke its way out of your foot, come back to the doctor’s office and let her remove it.

I suspect that this is a good general rule, but in this case it specifically referred to the glass shard that had been plaguing me for the past two weeks.  I could write an epic poem about this experience, but since I’m pretty sure we all have better things to do than read or write such a thing, I will skip to the exciting conclusion.

After two doctor visits, two weeks of antibiotics, and an absurd amount of time spent walking on the ball of my foot, I saw it!  A little something on the bottom of my foot, glinting tantalizingly near the surface.

I knew what I had to do, but I did not want to do it.  So, I consulted my in-home caregiver (Pro Tip: Mike, of course).  Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Is that really something in my foot there?

Mike: Yes.  I can see it.

Me: So, do I really have to go to the doctor?

Mike: Yes.  You do.

Me: But . . . this is going to be, like, a $300 glass shard by the time we’re finished.

Mike: It only gets more expensive the longer you wait.

"The Splinter," circa 1910

Faced with this totally annoying use of logic, I kept my doctor’s appointment.

I felt a chill of fear run through me as I was led to the ominously named Procedures Room (Actual Pro Tip: “It’s where we do the procedures”).

I tried not to whimper as I watched the nurse set out a terrifying array of scissors, tweezers, and scalpels alongside an alarmingly large pile of gauze.

I fought down a wave of nausea as I allowed the doctor to place first a towel, then a huge disposable pad underneath my poor little foot.  Sweet mother of pearl, what did she expect to come out of that thing?

This is why I did not want to go to the doctor.

But, guess what?  All that came out was an amazingly tiny piece of glass!  And thanks to the magic of numbing solution, all I felt was the tiniest bit of discomfort!  My doctor did not even need most of the terrifying implements, or any of the alarming pile o’ gauze.

I immediately felt much better.  And not just because I no longer had a hurty foot (Pro Tip: technical term), but because I had checked an unpleasant task off my list.  I could stop thinking, worrying, and fretting about it.  It was, as the three-year-olds say, All Done.

So if there’s something that you’ve been dreading–making (or keeping) that dentist appointment, setting up a payment plan for that dental bill, returning that angry phone call–do it today.  It probably won’t be as terrible as you imagine, and even if it is, at least it won’t be hanging over your head anymore.

And that’s not nothing, is it?

Women in bathing suits on Collaroy Beach, 1908,  photographed by Colin Caird

What have you been avoiding?



Filed under Learning Opportunities, Marvelous Miscellany

3 responses to “Want to Feel Better? Do Something Unpleasant!

  1. purpleowltree1234

    Yay for the glass removed! 🙂 Did you know that for splinters (I’d assume glass ones too), you can stick the sticky part of a bandaid over the splinter and it will suck it out? Might take a day of a few, but my mom always did that in the clinic she ran in the Philippines and it always worked.
    I’m avoiding *so many things*! Dentist (one filling fell out, one tooth broke a third off it and I see two cavities), Doctor (my GP moved away in Dec last year and I’ve been putting off finding a new one, and have things I need getting checked), Optometrist (too much energy with depression), changing my address at the Post Office (redirecting my mail) now I’ve moved house… Many thingsss. Tackled one big thing last week. Another this week- if I do one a week or a fortnight I ought to get through them, right? Then feel great like you, right?
    Rach. 🙂


    • What a good splinter removal tip! I will definitely file that one away for future use.

      I hope you are getting some of your things done so you can feel good, too!


  2. Jane

    Thank you for inspiring me to finally send off my child tax credit forms. Ugh.


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